Produced by David Widger
FROM DRAWINGS BY WILL OWEN
“Can I ‘ave it took off while I eat my bloater, mother?”
“Been paddlin’?” he inquired
“Cheer up,” said Mr George Brown
Mr Gibbs, with his back against the post, fought for nearly half an hour
“Where is he?” she gasped
“Gone!” exclaimed both gentlemen “Where?”
“Why was wimmen made? Wot good are they?”
“As far as I’m concerned he can take this lady to a music-’all every night”
Mr Chase, with his friend in his powerful grasp, was doing his best
“What on earth’s the matter?” she inquired
“As I was a-saying, kindness to animals is all very well”
“The quietest man o’ the whole lot was Bob Pretty”
“Some of ‘em went and told Mr Bunnett some more things about Bob next day”
“Bob Pretty lifted ‘is foot and caught Joseph one behind”
“Me?” said the other, with a gasp “Me?”
“Evening, Bob,” he said, in stricken accents
“Just what I told her,” said Mr Digson “What’ll please you will be sure…
“She’ll be riding in her carriage and pair in six months”
“The lodger was standing at the foot o’ bed, going through ‘is pockets”
“‘We thought you might want it, Sam,’ ses Peter”
A very faint squeeze in return decided him
He felt the large and clumsy hand of Mr Butler take him by the collar
“I tell you, I am as innercent as a new-born babe”
“And next moment I went over back’ards in twelve foot of water”
His friend complied
“You tell ‘er that there’s two gentlemen here what have brought her news”
“Don’t you know me, Mary?”
“If I take you back again,” repeated his wife, “are you going to behave?”
“What I want you to do,” said Mr George Wright, “is to be an uncle to me”
“It’ll do to go on with,” he said
“‘Ow much did you say you’d got in the bank?”
“‘Gal overboard!’ I ses, shouting”
“Arter trying his ‘ardest, he could only rock me a bit”
Mr. Jobson awoke with a Sundayish feeling, probably due to the fact that it was Bank Holiday. He had been aware, in a dim fashion, of the rising of Mrs. Jobson some time before, and in a semi-conscious condition had taken over a large slice of unoccupied territory. He stretched himself and yawned, and then, by an effort of will, threw off the clothes and springing out of bed reached for his trousers.
He was an orderly man, and had hung them every night for over twenty years on the brass knob on his side of the bed. He had hung them there the night before, and now they had absconded with a pair of red braces just entering their teens. Instead, on a chair at the foot of the bed was a collection of garments that made him shudder. With trembling fingers he turned over a black tailcoat, a white waistcoat, and a pair of light check trousers. A white shirt, a collar, and tie kept them company, and, greatest outrage of all, a tall silk hat stood on its own band-box beside the chair. Mr. Jobson, fingering his bristly chin, stood: regarding the collection with a wan smile.
“So that’s their little game, is it?” he muttered. “Want to make a toff of me. Where’s my clothes got to, I wonder?”
A hasty search satisfied him that they were not in the room, and, pausing only to drape himself in the counterpane, he made his way into the next. He passed on to the others, and then, with a growing sense of alarm, stole softly downstairs and making his way to the shop continued the search. With the shutters up the place was almost in darkness, and in spite of his utmost care apples and potatoes rolled on to the floor and travelled across it in a succession of bumps. Then a sudden turn brought the scales clattering down.
“Good gracious, Alf!” said a voice. “Whatever are you a-doing of?”
Mr. Jobson turned and eyed his wife, who was standing at the door.
“I’m looking for my clothes, mother,” he replied, briefly.
“Clothes!” said Mrs. Jobson, with an obvious attempt at unconcerned speech. “Clothes! Why, they’re on the chair.”
“I mean clothes fit for a Christian to wear—fit for a greengrocer to wear,” said Mr. Jobson, raising his voice.
“It was a little surprise for you, dear,” said his wife. “Me and Bert and Gladys and Dorothy ‘ave all been saving up for it for ever so long.”
“It’s very kind of you all,” said Mr. Jobson, feebly—“very, but—”
“They’ve all been doing without things themselves to do it,” interjected his wife. “As for Gladys, I’m sure nobody knows what she’s given up.”
“Well, if nobody knows, it don’t matter,” said Mr. Jobson. “As I was saying, it’s very kind of you all, but I can’t wear ‘em. Where’s my others?”
Mrs. Jobson hesitated.